El Paso, Texas has always been a hub for film-making talent. One such talent, Dakota Thomas, is getting ready to unveil his feature length directorial debut – Bedridden – to a much wider audience. It recently screened at the El Paso Film Festival, where it won the audience award, and now it’s about to receive a small theatrical release. A collaboration between Dakota Entertainment and Stache House Productions, Bedridden finds Teri, a recently widowed woman following a terrible murder/robbery in her hotel room. Now a single mother grieving the loss of her husband, Teri finds her worst fears coming true when she’s stuck in her bedroom and trapped with a supernatural force that wants to play a twisted mind-game of life and death. Written and directed by Dakota Thomas, Bedridden stars Elizabeth Elise Gonzalez, Angel Herrera, Hector Dez, Raquel Gomez, Cienna Valles, Ryan Rox and Al Matamoros. Produced by Elizabeth Elise Gonzalez, Raquel Gomez, Christian Valencia and Dakota Thomas, this title features cinematography and editing by Martin Ramirez, with additional editing by Dakota Thomas. And, hey, sometimes smaller crews are better because it’s less ideas to muddy-up the story.
While a brutal murder and a good ol’ Ouija board kickstart this movie into high gear, it’s definitely worth mentioning that Bedridden is a different kind of horror film. It’s not in your face and is more story driven. If anything, it’s a psychological drama about loss and trauma with some supernatural elements sprinkled in to help it over story-building hurdles. I found myself waiting for the action to begin until I realized that Bedridden is just not that kind of narrative. It’s built on real emotion, from loss to anger to obsession to fear and everything else in between the lines. And maybe the scariest thing of all is the fact that any of us could end up in this position, minus the confrontation with a dastardly devil. Reality is often scarier than fiction and Bedridden is a testimate to that. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but horror fans who enjoy a little depth with their nightmares will get a kick out of this. And if you’re still on the fence, let me reel you in by mentioning Bedridden features musical scores by Lito Velasco (Never Sleep Again) and Tuesday Knight (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4).
I never thought an indie film that takes place mostly in a bedroom or in a car with three or four characters leading the way would have this much to tell an audience. As I mentioned above, less is more, and keeping it simple definitely kept Bedridden from going overboard and burning itself out. Instead, it rides the waves in a graceful way as it mounts to its heart-stopping finale. And the lead actress, Elizabeth Elise Gonzalez, found her strut as the story unfolds. I was a little worried in the beginning, but once the initial attack is over, she delivers a standout performance. Bedridden isn’t perfect, though. While I’m a fan of most of what it accomplished, I do think adding more musical scores would have helped the overall atmosphere. For me, the movie is a little too quiet… even with all the yelling going on down the hall. Dakota Thomas and Martin Ramirez worked well together, and the benefits came across loud and clear – Dakota Thomas has stepped his game up since the last time I saw one of his titles. It’ll be interesting to see what he does in the future, especially with such a dedicated group that raised all the funds for this movie via crowdfunding.
Bedridden will have you crying into your pillow and hiding under your blanket at the same time. Some viewers may find it a little slow, but again, those of you who look for a come-back story of sorts will enjoy this one! Final Score: 8 out of 10.